Design-based boutique production company Global Mechanic and the National Film Board of Canada are in production on a new animated film. VIVE LA ROSE is a five-minute short set to a soulful version of the song by the same name.
The incredible emotional tone of the song was GM creative director and owner Bruce Alcock's initial inspiration for the film. Sung by legendary Newfoundland folksinger Emile Benoit when he was 92, this heartfelt recording was Benoit's last. The visual treatment includes beautifully rendered paintings and found objects animated in stop motion.
The picturesque shores of the Avalon Peninsula act as the backdrop for a story of unrequited love. The film opens at dawn on a rocky beach, the camera moves up the beach and finds an abandoned shack. Once inside we see an old desk whose contents evoke memories of a time past.
Our hero is a workingman; his life is simple and poor. The Rose he dreams of is from a higher class and is completely unaware of his affections. Before the two can meet the Rose falls ill and dies, sending our hero into a downward spiral of depression and heartache.
Alcock's images are inspired by Chagall and Tapies. As the story unfolds the pictures evolve and transform becoming more abstract, almost violent. The animation is fluid and transformative and sometimes hard to watch without welling up as the emotional tension mounts. Objects from the time and place move in stop motion next to the paintings, adding emphasis to key story points and music cues.
Alcock, one of Canada's leading animation directors, has been animating for over 20 years. Alcock is a successful commercial director, artist and independent filmmaker. After his award-winning short films AT THE QUINTE HOTEL and WRONG NUMBER PHONE MESSAGE, the National Film Board approached him about partnering on his next film. A prolific creative mind, Alcock presented several story ideas to the NFB.
With its unusual production model and heart-rending music, VIVE LA ROSE stood well above the rest. The entire film will be shot in stop motion on location in Alcock's home province of Newfoundland. Alcock added an extra level of difficultly by insisting the film be shot in a single take over the course of a day.
While an unorthodox production with a larger than usual production budget, this confident creative thinking was precisely the asset needed by NFB producers Michael Fukushima and Annette Clarke to champion the project through the NFB to being successfully greenlit. The film is scheduled to be released in spring of 2009.
Global Mechanic is a design-based animation and live action production company in Boston and Vancouver. It is a group of artists making TV commercials, independent films and TV series in all media. Commercial clients include Anheuser-Busch, Bell, Proctor & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Mattel, BMW's MINI, Unilever, Hershey, Kraft, Mattel, Nestle, and Target. Film projects include award-winning shorts and features in all genres.